Get skooled by your truly, on the decks, playing the music that inspired and defined genres of today. It will make you hot for this teacher!!!!
Get skooled by your truly, on the decks, playing the music that inspired and defined genres of today. It will make you hot for this teacher!!!!
What’s up with the love for Bruno Mars?!?!?!?!?!?!
Currently, Bruno Mars is all the rage in pop and club music. I constantly get requests for his songs when I’m DJing. His current hot song is the remix of “Finesse” ft. Cardi B (who is also killin’ it at the moment).
The “Finesse” remix, which is not much different than the original, be it a more pronounced drum beat with extra snares and the additional rap verse, is firmly nestled in the top 10 pop music charts. The attraction of the song could be credited to it’s video, which pays homage to the In Living Color comedy show that was widely popular in the late 80’s into early 90’s as it helped give notice to the rising hip hop scene. Hip Hop needs to thank and give In Living Color much props because it was one of the only shows that portrayed and made Hip Hop culture appealing and widely popular. The show had a (acting, not real, sorry Shawn Wayans) DJ and dance troupe called The Fly girls. In between skits the DJ would play the hottest Hip Hop jams for the Fly Girls to showcase the latest dances moves to emulate on the dance floor.
Watching the Fly Girls helped me numerous times to perfect my running man on the dance floor at my high dances.
Also, on occasion, the show would end with a live Hip Hop performance of the hottest groups which was so dope to see. I remember seeing performances from legendary hip hop crews such as the likes of Brand Nubian, A Tribe Called Quest, LONS (Leaders of the New School), Gang Starr with Nice & Smooth, Public Enemy Joined w/ Ice Cube, 3rd Bass, and Queen Latifa, who, ironically, was the very first Hip Hop artist to perform on the show. Talk about ladies first!!!
Bruno knew exactly what he was doing with that video, bringing back memories of an iconic time in music. But, the nostalgia in his music is not only shown in that particular song. His other hit songs represent a BLAST FROMT THE PAST sound that covers late 70’s and early 80’s funk. Take the song “24K” for example. The drums on this song is very similar to the Funk/R&B hit “Cutie Pie” by One Way, released in 1982, and mixed with Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s “The Message” (also released in 1982) there is definitely some nostalgia going on, be it on purpose or not. Was this a coincidence that Bruno and his producers (Shampoo Press & Curl, Stereotypes) created a song so similar or was it done deliberately to prove a point?
On the wikipedia website, Bruno Mars was quoted in an interview stating his songs have an influence of 90’s hip hop/R&B and “24K” represented the sound of West Coast Hip Hop. He is definitely correct on that aspect. “Cutie Pie” would be considered a staple in the West Coast “gansta” Funk genre, with the likes of Parliament/Funkadelic and Zapp & Roger. These songs were heavily sampled by popular West Coast producers like Dr. Dre and DJ Quick. Back in the late 80’s and early 90’s Hip Hop producers would crate dig to sample music from earlier genres to create new music, but, for most dedicated listeners (like myself), it would be like an (re)introduction to the past. That is what makes Hip Hop music, especially in the late 80’s and early 90’s, so interesting because it reintroduced us to past genres we might have missed. There is no way I would have discovered Average White Band’s “School Boy Crush” if it wasn’t for Eric B. & Rakim’s “Microphone Fiend”, and, as a DJ, when you mix both songs together you help connect the rediscoveries.
And that is what makes Bruno Mars so interesting because he is doing something very similar to what Hip Hop producers (use to) do. He is bringing back a sound that was once very popular and fun to dance to. He is reminding us on how dope music was several decades ago (I still can’t believe it has been that long) and it still is dope! It’s like Bruno Mars is raiding his parents record collection and playing jams for his friends in his bedroom. Hell, I used to do the same, but I was playing disco and Jazz Fusion and me and my friends are still listening and discovering more of that music today.
As a DJ you have a major responsibility to not only be relevant with your music choices, but to also remind listeners of past jams because good music will always be good music, no matter what time period. A good DJ should relish the opportunity to play a song that has been forgotten in time and the challenge would be to mix the song with something recent. As I stated before, music can bring out memories and feeling, being like a soundtrack to our lives. DJ’s need to recognize this influential power and give it respect because it can separate you from those who are whack!
Bruno Mars is making it easy for us real DJs. He is throwing us a bone and crediting himself with the assist when the DJ scores!!! But, Bruno Mars made it easy on himself, already knowing his songs would be hits because he’s borrowing songs that were hits in the past. The proof is in the pudding. Not only is he presenting a sound that attracts the young generation, he is also bringing back the older generation as well, helping to bridge the gap and cover the full spectrum of listeners. It’s like the current movie industry and their obsession of producing remakes of past films. The older viewers would watch the movie(s) for nostalgia and the new generation is fooled to thinking they are seeing something new. This is done because there has been a proven track record of success for the film. Overall it means tickets are being sold to both groups and that makes profits, regardless. Thanks, Capitalism!
Why should the music industry not do the same? And trust me, they do it, they been doing it!
Just look at P Diddy’s career!
That is why it is important for the DJ to connect original content with the remakes because everyone, at the end of the day, want the truth! So, I implore all of you young and aspiring DJs to take it upon yourself to listen and research the past, like a musical archaeologist, to make these discoveries and connections. The listener will thank you for it because knowledge is power.
So, if you play “Finesse Remix” you better mix it with some late 80’s to early 90’s Hip Hop/R&B song because you will not only reach the older generation, but you will school the young ones as well and they will be appreciative for that. Below are a few suggestions of songs to mix with:
Al B. Sure – “If I’m not your Lover” Remix Ft. Slick Rick
Bell Biv Devoe – “Poison”; “Do Me; “Wurd to da Mutha” Remix
Keith Sweat – “I Wanna”; “Make You Sweat”
Guy – “Do me Right”
Got it? Now runalong and go outside and PLAY!!!
Rock, rock on…ya’ll!
Happy New Year! This is DJ C-prod-G, entertainment extraordinaire, and welcome to the first blog post of 2018.
Winter has officially made it’s presence known by dropping a foot of snow in NYC. I’m currently bundled up in my cold Brooklyn apartment since the landlord prefers the heat off during the day.
The price you pay to be a DJ.
Who’s excited for 2018?!?!?!?!
I thought so. Me too.
Now, what I want to discuss about is the dance party and why it is important to associate a theme. People require relevance in social gatherings so that they can feel comfortable with letting loose. Dancing is a form of expression through movement and the music is the driving force. When you hear songs that are familiar it can trigger many impulses of your stimuli.
The impulse could be a memory or an emotion and it is something that can be cherished or despised.
I love it when a person approaches me while I’m DJing and they confide in me their love for a song I just spun. There are even times I play a song that I am not particularly fond of and as I scan the dance floor of happy faces I spot a sole individual who shares in my displeasure. I love that.
A connection with someone or a group of individuals through the mix of songs that can give multiple meanings and relations is what makes life so meaningful. The recognition of something that is shared with others, who may be strangers or familiar, can help shut down your apprehension barriers that are constantly held up for protection.Especially here in NYC, it is required to have barriers up because we are constantly on top of one another.
Just ride the MTA subway for reference.
That’s why people are so intent on going out on a Friday night with the intention to dance their butts off because they want to let loose, open up, express and release all of their pent up aggression from the hard week of work. And who can blame’em! Out with your friends, hoping to have a night to remember and the music can get everyone on the same page.
As a DJ I am always looking for that song or a mix of songs that connects with the listener(s). For example, when a DJ can get a dance crowd to do sing alongs, there is no better feeling of accomplishment!
It’s like a surfer riding that perfect wave without falling off the board.
Connection is everything, it is in the music when the songs are blended together, it can create nostalgia or brand new memories, and it is felt when two complete strangers grind with each other on the dance floor for the first time. This type of interaction is essential for the human psyche, especially since our culture is so exposed to individuality with the ongoing rise of technology. Why have a verbal conversation with someone when it can be so convenient to send a quick text message with an emoji at the end? You can’t hashtag music, or at least, not yet, god forbid.
So, when there is a theme to a dance party, it can already establish the connection that is required for the DJ to drive the energy of dance floor. A theme will give the potential listener the familiarity needed to let themselves get lost in the music. The expectation of hearing certain songs related to a theme will only increase the potential joy factor.
I have created so many themed parties and I don’t intend to stop the creativity. I have witnessed countless amazing interactions at these parties that it only leaves me craving for more. The mixes I have posted on my website are mostly from themed parties I’ve hosted in the past. Each party had it’s on persona, but the results were all the same; a damn good time!
Below is a mix from a party I hosted a few years ago and the theme was Rock music and the introduction of the digital drum. I curated a playlist of rock songs in the 80’s that would consist of drums sounding electronic, which was very prominent in genres like New Wave and Synth-Pop. The party was a complete success and I was very pleased and relieved to hear much positive feedback from the listeners. Please check out the link of the mix below and you can hear it on the “Sounds” page of this website:
If you are an aspiring DJ and want to host a dance party, I suggest you put a theme to it. It will make it easier for a DJ to construct their playlist because it will be concise and specific. Also, the listener(s) will be appreciative because the theme will bring a familiarity to the music that will make them feel comfortable and connected. At the end of the day it is all about having a good time and what better way to do that than a relative idea that everyone can connect with and jam to?
I am listening for any alternatives…None? Thought so.
Rock, rock on, ya’ll!
I know, we live in a digital world, the new age of digital and streaming services. There are many benefits to this new world, like convenience, for one. Our lives is now all about convenience; websites and apps dominating our smartphones is making it so easy to order the things we want and don’t need. Food, beverages, clothes, and media can be clicked and delivered in a few days. We’ve all gotten pretty used to it. I am not saying I reject this and I would be a bold face liar if you ever hear me complaining about it. I use web services for most of my needs as much as the regular good ole fashion consumer, and I accept it. But conforming to a conformity that is threatening to eradicate all social interactions just so we can keep up our solipsistic personalities that allows us to be quick, and impulsive with our daily shopping habits is the least of our worries.
What is becoming an extinction, especially in NYC, is the decaying of specific store fronts and retail shops that cater to folks who enjoy a good hunt for those stellar finds. The tribal shopper is being eradicated from existence. Not even ten years ago, a professional shopper would take those couple of hours after work, or sometimes during their lunch break, to look around the shops for anything worth their hard earned cash. However, with technology allowing us to multitask at such alarming speed, goods can be purchased within minutes, leaving out the grueling task of a manual browsing. Instead we use a cursor or a mouse to scroll through the scores of selections. But was it really all that grueling?
Let’s take a record store, for example. An average customer rarely enters a store knowing what they are going to purchase. The ultimate goal is the discovery, that is what makes its worth the buy. Like an archeologist digging the remains of history, bins upon bins of records, CDs, and, (on occasion) tapes are stocked and arranged for our digging pleasures. $1 bins may hold secret grails to your rock, disco, and funk collections, if you have Jedi like patience. Many Stores would also have listening stations, ready for use to preview your large stack of potential gems. The store owner would usually play obscure records in the background, hoping to entice his cliental to it’s purchase. My favorite part of the record shopping experience is the checkout because I’d pay attention to the seller’s reaction to my choices, seeing if I can detect any ounce of judgement. Usually the seller would make a positive comment on a couple of your selections, which they should if they hope for your return, to build trust. How is that experience not more fun!
Well, with online shopping on the rise, many store fronts can’t compete when their highest expense, rent, is not a factor for an online retailer. In New York City where real estate rules supreme went terminator on so many record stores. Thankfully a handful of stores still remain in Manhattan and Brooklyn, but that is a far cry from how it used to be. Remembering stores like Fat Beats, The Sound Library [TSL], and Beat Street in Brooklyn that catered to the DJ. On occasion you would run into legendary producers and artists, such as Q-Tip, Questluv, Primo and Pete Rock, crate diggin’ for their next masterpieces.
It’s all about the search when it comes to a good record store. It’s the well earned time spent on looking at countless LP covers; trying not to fall for the old “never judge a record by it’s cover”. Being meticulous by examining every vinyl for any scratches and deformities, and giving your finger joints a workout with the constant flipping of records in the well dense, categorized rows. Hell, even the smell of a record store can give the nerdiest of shoppers chills up and the spine. Oh, and the best part, after you make your purchases you can head home and immediately listen instead of waiting for shipped items.
That is why it us up to us as a consumer to keep these store around for the future and for our children’s future. There is an expression that states you appreciate things obtained after hard work and dedication. I truly believe that when it comes to being a serious record shopper, and I encourage all of you who (by some weird chance) are reading this post, to give that online shopping a break. Take the time to head out to that struggling retail store and give them business YOU need to deserve!
Rock, rock on!!!